Also called, “Fashion Jewelry,” costume jewelry is defined as jewelry not made of precious metals or gemstones. Typical costume jewelry materials include plastic, wood, base metals, fabric, leather, shells, and various types of cording.
Costume jewelry began as an affordable alternative to jewelry made with precious metals. At one time, the only piece of fine jewelry someone not of the upper class would own was a wedding band. As manufacturing grew in the 20th century, companies began to mass produce inexpensive jewelry with base metals, synthetic gemstones and other materials. Where celebrities and members of the upper class once wore fine jewelry exclusively, you now see people of all income brackets wearing both fine and costume pieces.